Activated protein C resistance determined with a thrombin generation-based test is associated with thrombotic events in patients with lupus anticoagulants


Sigurd Liestøl, Department of Haematology, Ullevål University Hospital, N-0407 Oslo, Norway.
Tel.: +47 22 11 91 01/+47 22 11 92 40; fax: +47 22 11 91 81; e-mail:


Summary. Background: Several studies suggest that antiphospholipid antibodies interfere with the activity of activated protein C (APC). This acquired form of APC resistance has been proposed as a possible pathogenic mechanism underlying hypercoagulability associated with the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).Objectives: We wanted to investigate the inhibitory effect of recombinant APC (rAPC) on ex vivo thrombin generation in plasma and the modification of this effect by the presence of lupus anticoagulants (LA).Patients/Methods: We analyzed plasmas from 81 patients with LA (52 patients fulfilling the criteria for the APS) and 91 controls. Percent inhibition of the endogenous thrombin potential (ETP) as a parameter of APC sensitivity was determined in plasmas using a thrombin generation-based APC resistance test probed with rAPC. All results were normalized using pooled normal plasma (PNP) as a reference.Results: Normalized percent inhibition of ETP by APC was lower in patients with LA [61.4%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 45.8–74.5%] compared to controls (107.8%, 95% CI: 107.1–109.3%). In patients with LA and APS, median inhibition was lower than in patients with LA without APS (44.6%, 95% CI: 30.1–55.7% vs. 78.8%, 95% CI: 73.9–95.8%). This difference also persisted when patients on warfarin therapy were excluded from the APS subgroup.Conclusions: APC resistance can be demonstrated with a thrombin generation-based test in a majority of patients with the LA laboratory phenotype. A history of thrombotic events in patients with LA is associated with a stronger resistance to the anticoagulant effect of APC.